Here on Earth

Kdrama Bug Bit Me – Reply 1988

I don’t think I am that a huge Korean drama fan, but since, despite of the numerous options in Netflix, I was left without much choice but to try watching Korean dramas.

I used to really avoid Korean dramas, because I find it inconvenient to watch and read subtitles at the same time. But we all had to start somewhere.

I’m writing this because I want to share about Reply 1988, which I just recently watched in Netflix. It’s a series aired in around 1995 in South Korea, but recently made waves in Netflix. It’s mainly about five childhood friends who grew up in a tightly-knit neighborhood. The story tells the story of their families, too, and how their lives are intertwined. And as the title implies, the setting is on 1988. This made the series easier to love especially for someone who was born in the early 80’s and is a sucker of nostalgia.

It’s a 20-episode series, but I stopped at episode 18. Not because it’s not interesting anymore. But because I am so emotionally invested in this small neighborhood that I don’t want them to go yet! I am not ready to let them go, and finishing the series would mean I need to move on and find another series again.

This series is so good, that I was laughing, crying, then feeling warm all at the same time while watching it. The melody of the soundtracks are so perfect for each scene – I don’t understand their language, so I am just talking about the melody. I even searched for the translation of one of the soundtrack.

The characters were all well played by the actors. They are so endearing and relatable.

I even started following some of the actors in their IG account. I told you, I am not yet ready to let them go.

There are a lot of scenes that made me cry. Given the series has a very simple plot, but there are a lot of surprises – scenes that you don’t realize would make you cry. I cried with them, laugh with them, and dreamt with them. Oh no, ending this series is like losing a family!

Okay, so I haven’t decided to finish the series yet, but I am writing this now, so I can go back to this and remember how much these five families made me a part of them.

I’ll post again after I’m done with the series. 🙂

Here on Earth

Lockdown: Day 4

4:24 PM

Yes, it’s the fourth day of the lockdown. It felt like any other Sundays (while it’s Wednesday). The children next door are all outside now. Playing basketball, wrestling over unknown issue. Just know, a corn vendor passed by, hmnnn, the delicious smell of sweet corn is in the air.

I don’t feel bored. Oh, does introvert ever feel bored when stuck at home? No, because i introverts don’t use “stuck” when at home. We find joy each time we stay at home.

There’s so much I can do at home. Read books, paint – acrylic, oil, or watercolor, draw, sculpt, do skin care, sew, clean the house. There’s so much to do.

I just feel uneasy, in a sense that I don’t know if this one month lockdown will be strictly implemented. I have a whole slew of things I want to do. I don’t know how to efficiently use my time.

My sister’s sleeping now, nursing a cough and colds. We’re praying this is not because of the Covid 19, but just her body’s normal reaction to some vitamins she’s not used to drinking.

It’s my sister’s birthday, too, and for the first time in a long time, we’re not celebrating it with the whole family. It’s quite sad, but we all have to go through this situation.

I am also praying for my immediate healing, my phlegm is not improving, and each day I breathe through God’s grace that I’ll be fine until this ordeal is over, and that He’ll heal me soonest.

These are the days when I just have to trust and claim God’s grace in my life. Isolated. Physically helpless. But moving forward through His love.

Here on Earth

Lockdown: Day 2

8:09 PM

Watching the news, with the President speaking making new announcements, while also fixing the groceries I bought from our Cooperative store at work. We were still at work when the news broke out that the entire Luzon is under an “enhanced community lockdown”.

I realized I don’t have enough goods in stock. Whey protein, chia seeds, and mass gainer are all I have in bulk. Need to do grocery. I had to leave work early and do a quick shopping in our Cooperative store. Praise God that we have this kind of facility. I didn’t have to endure long queue and uncertain amount of stocks in supermarkets.

I was also happy that I only paid Php 1,980.00 for a bag load of canned goods, condiments, and toiletries. Convenient and cheaper! Thank you, Lord!

I was also blessed with a favor from an officemate; she willingly drove and dropped me off in our place, so I can bring home my stash.

As I was fixing my groceries, I was reminded that this is what I personally need. A time when I will live in truth, faith, and in spirit. I was praying for my parents who are in a city outside Metro Manila. I pray for them each time I can. I am scared, but I can only put my trust and faith in the Lord that He will take care of them.

I was reminded, “if I love my family, the Lord loves them more.” I have to trust the Lord that while we are apart, they are well taken care of. This is one of the days I have to fully rely on the Lord.

I realized how blessed I am. To have a steady job, to have means to survive, to have enough money to buy groceries, to have enough until this lockdown ends, to have a job waiting for me after all of this died down.

Oh, Lord, forgive me for being ungrateful sometimes, or maybe, most of the time. Thank your for this time when I have to fully trust in You. May I rise out of this situation victorious and stronger through Your name.

I will praise Your name, Lord, no matter what.

Here on Earth

38th.

While for some, this January is somewhat dreadful with all what’s happening, this month is another expression of God’s grace and faithfulness to me – blessed to be 38.

I thank and praise the Lord that amidst all the chaos, I can find comfort and hope in His words. I am thankful that my Lord is always faithful and loving, and that He is in control.

For everything that I am, was, and will be, I praise you Lord Jesus – the Alpha and the Omega.

Thank you for this another year. 😘

Here on Earth

Last Saturday of 2019.

Suddenly I was afraid. Fearful for this year to end.

I didn’t intend to sit down and make a careful assessment of how 2019 was to me, but some things that happened made me do so.

As much as I refused to acknowledge it, this year is a year of brokenness, of goodbyes, of closures, of letting go, as much as this is a year of healing and daily renewals.

I realized how much goodbyes there has been for this year. People walked away from me. I lost them, they lost me. I chose to ignore the heartbreaks it brought me. I chose to recognize how God is working in my life, and that He is in control. But suddenly, I was made to realize, that while amidst the brokenness there is God, the brokenness shouldn’t be ignored.

I have to look at it straight on the eye, and find strength and learning from all the cracks, from all the shattered pieces of my heart. God is with me, it’s a fact, but I must acknowledge pain and rise from it.

There were goodbyes and closures in death, in moving to another chapter, in leaving, in being forgotten. This year was filled with healing, with restorations, heartbreaks and failures.

This was the year that I had fall outs. I had been to crossroads. I had been to different places in my life.

2019 has been a year that’s brimming with challenges and unexplained situations. So, I cannot help but wonder, will 2020 be the year of breakthrough for me?

I trust that God is preparing me for something bigger and bolder for 2020. I am excited and scared at the same time. I shouldn’t be. But 2019 is barely closing, who knows about all the surprises this is yet to offer me before the new year strikes.

Here on Earth

Those Two Years.

This is not about love.

It has been more than a year, but my mind would still go back to those days and nights whenever an opportunity to recall certain memories arise.

Who can blame me? Why blame me, when I am just trying to state a fact, to recall a part of my history, which fortunately, or unfortunately, includes someone I shouldn’t be remembering.

I wonder if I gush whenever I talk about some stories, which include our silly talks, and I hope other people does not notice it. Does my eyes sparkle whenever I talk about him? The mere mention of that person makes my heart flutter, I wonder if my effort to act like he doesn’t matter is working or failing.

It’s silly, I know.

Another part of “our” story, just shut its door. And a part of me was broken when I heard about the news. I tried to bid goodbye to it, and to our memories, wondering what will happen to all of those? I can imagine all the “ghosts” of those memories flying around, maybe searching for a place to stay. I hope the memories will reach to whom it should belong. Will it reach that person? It’s the kind of “ghost” that I would want to haunt him in his dreams. Creepy I know. But those are happy ghosts.

I am not so sure why I am talking about this, why did I even assigned a spot for this thoughts here in my blog. I am not sure why, but just like remembering some part of my history, this brings me joy.

Yes, the thought sparks joy.

Here on Earth

It’s Not Always About the Drama.

When people choose to call your pain as drama, or your struggles as sign of unbelief, would you still speak up? When your old demons are trying to resurrect themselves back in your life is it normal?

This morning, I almost snap.

I almost lost it. It’s been days, or maybe weeks, and I chose to face it alone. I tried to silence the words, drown it with the noise of the world, hid it behind God’s promise. Most of the time I succeed, but like an enemy that never gives up, it keeps on crawling back, little by little, lies by lies, pain by pain. And today, the enemy almost shouted “Victory!”

The morning didn’t start well, I was so tired, I woke up extra late. I was disoriented. I forgot what to do first, what to do next. I forgot to eat my breakfast right after my bath.

I was slicing some tofu, as tears roll on my cheeks. I don’t know why because I have a lot of things going in my head. Everything was flashing in head, the noise is killing me.

I prayed. Don’t tell me I should, because God knows how many prayers I have said during that ordeal. But as I say my words, the enemy is trying to tell me things, too. Don’t tell me I have weak faith. Please don’t, I was on my strongest that time.

Brief episodes by episodes, until I was leaning on a pile of clothes that I started crying too hard. I was calling on the Lord, then I can almost hear nothing. I started seeing and feeling things. I remember looking around with wide eyes, frantic, crying to God, as part of my brain is telling me to kill myself. Yes, I heard it speak to me.

Then, I ran pick up quickly my bible, crying loudly to Jesus. Speaking His name repeatedly, calling, saying it, calling it. I cried out to the Holy Spirit, and pleaded not to leave me. I was so scared. I opened my bible and I landed on the pages of John 14, and 15.

There as I scan the page, I saw Jesus’ words popping out for me. His words, His reminders.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.”

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

“If you love me, keep my commands”

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching”

Then, every noise died.

Jesus enveloped me with so much peace, and comfort.

I was so scared. Really scared when I heard words in my head. I can talk about it now, because God gave me strength to do so. I am putting it here to remind myself how God saved me, once again.

I don’t think I could ever talk about this to anyone, maybe people would read this, but I don’t think I could ever seriously speak out. We always choose to shrug off our pain. Our fear. For fear of being judged, of being told that we don’t have enough faith. Of being told that we’re just doing some life drama. It always feels like that for other people, but for someone who’s into such ordeal, life is not going anywhere.

I am not sure if this is an onset to depression. I always feel like I have it, but I choose to deny it. But after I went through this morning, I am afraid I am sensitive to it, that like the others, I can be prone to it.

Each day I am on a lookout, for anything that might trigger unnecessary emotions. I am on a lookout to make sure I am sane enough to remember to call unto the Lord.

There’s too much in my head. In my heart. There’s too much that needs to be dealt with. There’s too much that needs to be vanquished.

But I know, nothing is too much for the Lord.

Here on Earth

Until All Stones Are Turned.

Today is one of those days again that I know no matter how much I pray, it’ll be unanswered. Not because God is playing deaf on me, but I know He put me through this because I have to.  Once you follow Christ, you understand that everything that you have to go through is part of the process. Nothing is coincidental. Nothing is wasted. You will get out of the situation alive, but changed.

I’ve been praying for a new job. Not because I want to move up my career, but because I am just tired of being here. What used to be a fulfilling and fun job with a relaxed but determined working atmosphere suddenly changed. Slowly, I can see its ugly head soaring above my office desk, with people trying to bite you to keep themselves alive. Everyone were friends, until we started to work for a living. I am suddenly tired, and I want to get out. So, I am praying for a new job, or maybe a new career, but I know God will not give it to me. Not now.

When I started feeling the ugly face of pride lurking behind me, whispering dirty truths in my head, I know something is wrong. I know God will not take me out here until I can deal with this enemy. He will not let me leave this place until I am sure with myself that I have killed it in my heart. Pride, if it’s still with me, wherever I go will haunt me, will ruin even the best things for me.

God will not let me leave until I stopped thinking that I deserve better. Until I stopped putting my pride on my job, until I can fully rest my happiness on Him. Until I learned to accept that this day job is a means to earn a living, and this is not my life. Until I stopped hating people for their desire to succeed. Until I stopped judging people’s effort against mine, I am not getting anywhere.

This is a tough process for me. Wearing this pride on my sleeves, indeed gives a certain kind of satisfaction. I feel bad for finding happiness in being catty, in rolling my eyes, in hating people, in snapping back. It gives satisfaction to my pride, to my personal earthly pride, but what about my pride in God? Am I living a life that’s still pleasing to Him? I am not. And I don’t know what to do now.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Romans 12:3

Maybe I need to spend more time with God, make sure that I have surrendered everything to Him. I know it’s time that I surrender even my job, my career, the things that I want to do. I need to step down again on my throne, and watch Him take over my life and see how He can turn everything alright.

I will not see the “exit” from here, until my heart is ready for a new beginning.

I need you now, my Lord. Remind me who I am, remind me again that my life on earth is just temporary, that my treasures are not here on earth where moths and vermin can destroy it. Oh, Lord, help me to step down from my high throne, help me to fall down, to break and see how high you can lift me up. I am tired, and I can no longer hold myself up. Lord, make me worthy to call you “Lord”, help me break free from this bondage of pride. Give me a heart that forgives, a heart that gives, that reaches out, that helps. Help me to be like you.

Here on Earth

Bucketlist Item: checked!

Summer time brings old friends to life! It’s hard to say “no” when old friends joined together in an FB group chat to plan for a summer getaway.

It wasn’t the best time when I had a mini-reunion with my high school friends; it was in a wake. We all went together in one evening to pay a visit to the late mother of one of our friends, and while we’re supposed to be all solemn, we cannot help but feel glad to see each other again after a number of years. We know we have so much to talk about, and we need to plan a trip so we can make new memories together.

I must say this trip made a lot a of “firsts” and realizations for us.

It’s best when It was not planned.

We know we’re busy rascals. And things and decisions might change if we plan the trip weeks or months from that evening, so I made a wild decision: Let’s make it this coming Saturday.

They complained. But I insisted, and they eventually agreed.

We haven’t decided on the destination or how to do it, but we all committed ourselves to our agreed date. It was a bit risky and can be too spontaneous for us, knowing we usually plan our trips for a couple of weeks or even months. But we need to do, what we ought to do. We cannot delay this any longer.

Adulthood

It’s been years since we last got together, and a lot of things happened in between the years. One of my friends now has his own family, another one now has four kids, my friend’s little girl is now in her teens, and a lot more. We are officially adults since years ago, but things are more different now.

I guess, as much as we didn’t talk about it,  pushing through with the plan was one of our #squadgoals in high school – to still hang out with your high school friends after 20 years. We’re no teenagers anymore, and our issues, from teachers, to grades are now about work responsibilities, family life and other adult problems that maybe somehow we looked forward to be discussing together years ago.

Unwritten bucket list item/s.

Our trip surprisingly pushed through on April 21. We met at 2:30 a.m for a convoy of three cars. There was an assigned “head”, “body” and “tail” for the cars. It was fun to be laughing at your friend’s driving skills as the “head” would drive in a zigzag pattern, forcing his way in between trucks and cars, leaving a “snake trail” for the “body” and “tail” to follow.

I cannot helped but feel a mixture of warmth and nostalgia. How, I remember one of my friends commenting “why didn’t we just had one big car, instead of driving separate ones?” I agreed to her sentiment, I mean, just imagine how much gas were spent in those three running cars, which would travel for almost 12 hours. But I recall saying, “this could be one item off our bucket list, to travel in our own cars someday, going to one destination.”

Yes, I guess it was one of our unwritten and undeclared bucket list items. We were products of public high school, who used to ride a tricycle or even walk (if we lost a peso for our fare) just to go to school. We used to be contented with a few pesos as our daily school allowance, trying to make the most of it, paying for our food and incidental expenses. We experienced different levels of financial hardships, and once in our younger years we made a promise that someday our lives will be easier. That someday, those things we dreamed about will happen in real life. Twenty years later, most of us are driving their own car, with their own family, working in a stable company, with our own careers to sustain our livelihood. Maybe it took a long time for us to really experience the “success” we all aspired for, but it doesn’t really matter. We’ve come a long way from where we were before.

We made a stop in one city from our destination to have our breakfast at McDonald’s. There, as we alighted the vehicles we get to meet the wife, the teenage daughter, the 7-year old goddaughter, basically everyone in our trip. It dawned on me how old we are now, how time really flew by.

We used to chase each other’s tricycle back in high school, while throwing shades and silly mockery to each other, now, personal cars are bringing us to our destination. Yes, we still throw shades and crazy comments to each other, but I guess, that thing we cannot erase from our lives. We became friends because of it.

We’re one BIG FAMILY.

We’ve known each other since we’re 14 years old, and as we grow older, our numbers almost doubled – counting the better halves and the offsprings.  We encouraged everyone to bring their wives, girlfriends, and even the kids, we love meeting them and making them part of our growing “family”. It’s a delight hanging out with everyone.

Memories are worth looking back on.

No memory will ever be too old to be remembered and talked about. In fact, the older a memory gets, the fonder it can be to remember. We talked about old loves, failures, crazy high school memories, unforgettable teachers, almost everything! I just realized that we never get tired of recalling high school stories, we talk about those each time we see each other! And we even laughed harder each time, too.

Those goodbyes.

We stayed in Nagsasa Cove, Zambales, for two days and one night. We pitched tents, cooked food, burned our toes in the raging heat of the sands, and swam in the beach. It was a laid back trip, I must say. We spent afternoons talking, teasing each other, and in the evening, for those of us who can stay a bit later we continued to reminisce our younger years.

On the second day, we once again did a convoy, passed through Subic Bay Freeport Zone to catch a dinner. After our dinner in a Japanese buffet restaurant, it was bye-bye time. Before we ride our vehicles, everyone shared quick hugs and kisses, we parted ways with promises that we will do another of this trip again.

I guess I must be the only one who felt the bittersweet goodbyes. We rode our respective vehicles and took our own preferred speedy routes. I am never the clingy friend, but I guess spending a couple of days with your friends, away from the stressful calling of the city will always be something hard to say goodbye to. That goodbye is an another beginning of a stressful week ahead.

Another new set of memories worth remembering was just added in our memory box, which I hope even in busy days, we will never choose to forget.

Here on Earth

This Rainy Evening

I just got home five minutes ago, and yes, it’s 12:38 already in the morning.

I am hungry, tired and almost drenched in rain. It took me roughly 3 hours to get a ride home. Along with other stranded commuters, we braved the long queue of passengers amidst the heavy rain.

At around 8:30 pm, on my way to the terminal, I started praying for an easy ride home, but to my dismay, a horrendous sight of long line of commuters welcomed me.

I took a spot in the line and prayed for a miracle of outpouring of vehicles to ride, and asked God to let me reach home within 45 minutes.

I waited. I prayed. I waited. I prayed. I prayed. I waited, and waited and waited, until after more than three hours I was able to take my ride.

It was still raining hard when I reached our place. I held my umbrella steadily as I rush against a rushing flood of water on the street. And as I feel the hem of wide-legged pants getting drenched, I asked God, “Lord, why? What should I learn about this situation? Why do I have to wait for more than three hours? I am so hungry. I am drenched. I am tired. I need to be up at 5 am for work. Why?”

I didn’t get the answer. But I did get an answer.

Like a bright light in a dark tunnel of my mind, I was suddenly enlightened.

Not everything is about me.

It is not always about my convenience. It’s not always about what I would feel, or what I want to do. The moment I offered my life to God, I am no longer living a life that aims to please myself.

God doesn’t owe me an explanation. He can make the rain pour forever if He wanted to. He can make me wait longer. He can make me more drenched and tired. He is in control, and I am not.

Things happen for a reason, and sometimes the reason is not revealed to us by God. He does not need to. We can only submit ourselves to Him, and trust that He will use us for His plans.

Until I started to acknowledge my role in this plan of His, I suddenly appreciated all the time I was in the terminal, waiting.

While waiting, I was able to read a book about Holiness and meditate on it, and also review my memory verses. While on my way home, I was praying for our driver and all the commuters left in the terminal. I was so grateful for our driver, that I was so close to verbally thanking him for braving the heavy rain and traffic just to fetch passengers.

When I reached home, my sister is still awake, with a missed call on my phone. Our dog is still awake also, waiting for me.

My sister helped my dry my umbrella and asked if I am soaking in rain.

I was able to appreciate our drivers, all the dispatchers who stayed with the passengers. I appreciate how my sister and our dog waited for me to reach home.

I don’t think there something big with the role I played in this plan, but I hope I did well. I am tired, but I feel contented. Not everything in life is about my success, it’s actually about His.

Again. It’s not always about me. Because everything in my life is Him.

“Lord, forgive me if I always think You are to please me, whereas I should be living a life to please you. Forgive me if I think everything else is about me, when in fact it is not one bit. Forgive me if I think highly of myself. Teach me again how to be like you.